The Political Report – 8/25/21

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds President Biden’s approval rating has plunged to 41% nationally, while 55% now disapprove of the job he’s doing.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “Biden’s overall approval has taken a turn for the worse due to his awful job performance rating on Afghanistan. His approval on immigration and the economy are also upside down. The only issue keeping him remotely in the game is his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he is barely at 50%.”

A new NBC News finds 69% of adults surveyed say they’ve been vaccinated.  That breaks down to 91% of those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 but just 50% of those who voted for Donald Trump.

The Arizona Senate will get just a partial report on the 2020 election “audit” Monday, due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has left three members of the Cyber Ninjas team “quite sick,” the Arizona Republic reports.

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR — Former NFL running back Herschel Walker (R) has apparently moved back to Georgia in what could be a prelude to a run for the U.S. Senate, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Walker’s supporters hope that his high name recognition, combined with a likely endorsement from former President Donald Trump, establish him as the clear frontrunner in the race to unseat Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) if he enters the contest.

“Election officials have opened an investigation into whether the wife of potential U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker cast an illegal ballot when she voted in Georgia’s presidential race last fall from her home in Texas,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“The investigation will look into allegations that Julie Blanchard violated state election laws requiring voters to be Georgia residents.”

“Footage from Afghanistan is already starting to pop up in Republican political ads, and GOP consultants say it’s going to provide TV-ready ammo for attacks heading into the midterms,” Axios reports.

“The haphazard U.S. withdrawal is the first major policy vulnerability presented by the Biden administration. The opposition expects it to play heavily in 2022 messaging — and even in the 2024 presidential contest.”

“Republican efforts to saddle the Democrats with fallout from the fall of Kabul won’t necessarily fly with voters — or instill fears in midterm candidates,” Axios reports.

“Axios traveled to Virginia’s 7th District last week, where Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) is running for re-election in a bellwether district. She focused solely on selling President Biden’s stimulus package and the bipartisan infrastructure deal still working its way through Congress.”

“In conversations the congresswoman had with her Richmond-area constituents, Afghanistan didn’t come up.”

Ian Philbrick: “Why has Mr. Biden — at least so far — escaped the sort of grass-roots ferment that dogged his two immediate predecessors?”

“One possibility is that he’s simply perceived as less antagonizing. The Tea Party was driven more by anxiety and resentment over a demographically changing country that had just elected its first Black president, most political scientists agree, than by fiscal conservatism.”

“​​But a president who dampens rather than stokes grass-roots furor is only part of the answer. The subjects conservatives have been protesting about over the past six months suggest other reasons for the missing anti-Biden Tea Party.”

NEVADA U.S. SENATOR — Donald Trump has given his endorsement in next year’s Senate race in Nevada to former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who wasn’t likely to face any serious opposition in the GOP primary and now is even less so.

ALASKA GOVERNOR — Terre Gales, who chaired Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s independent expenditure committee in 2018, told the Alaska Landmine on Friday that he was thinking about running as an independent against his old ally in next year’s top-four primary. Gales, though, does not have a good electoral record as a candidate. He challenged Rep. Don Young in the 2012 primary and took a mere 6% of the vote, while he lost a 2016 campaign for the Anchorage Assembly by a 62-38 margin.

Meanwhile, Matt Buxton of the progressive Midnight Sun takes a look at other potential contenders, though some sound considerably more interested than others. He writes that there’s been a “recent push” to get Democrat Mike Navarre, who is a former member of the state cabinet, to run, while he relays a rumor that GOP state Sen. Natasha von Imhof “is seriously considering a bid.”

Buxton adds that “[t]here’s been a load of chatter” about a campaign from Al Gross, who ran for the Senate in 2020 as a Democratic-aligned independent; Gross has expressed interest in another Senate run, but this is the first time we’ve heard him mentioned for governor. He hasn’t said anything publicly about taking on Dunleavy, though he retweeted the Alaska Landmine last week when it wrote, “Lots of chatter about Al Gross entering the governor’s race.”

Finally, Buxton name-drops GOP state Sen. Lora Reinbold, though he adds that “it’s frankly hard to parse out what’s legitimate rumor and what’s wishful thinking.”

CALIFORNIA GOVERNORJonathan Bernstein: “To begin with, the election is structured badly. Californians are first asked whether to retain or remove Newsom, and then are given a plurality ballot of candidates to replace him, which only matters if the incumbent is in fact removed. Single-shot plurality elections with no party nominations are just a mess, and tend toward large candidate fields and almost random results; name recognition and factional candidacies are rewarded at the expense of almost everything else.”

“Whatever the merits of recalls, this is simply a terrible way to replace a removed governor.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR — Columnist Patrick Hynes of the Union Leader relays word that Democratic state Sen. Tom Sherman “is gearing up to run” for the post held by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is in no hurry to decide if he’ll run for the Senate or seek another term next year.  

NEW YORK GOVERNOR In a statement released on his last day in office before his resignation (which, desperate to the last, wasn’t set to take effect until 11:59 PM), Andrew Cuomo’s office said the now-former governor “is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for office again.” That’s unlikely to help end the speculation that he could try to wage an instant comeback bid next year, though this might help: Democratic pollster Civiqs, which fields daily tracking polls, finds that Cuomo’s favorability rating has dropped to 29-58 overall and sits at just 47-36 among Democrats.

At 12:01 a.m., one minute after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) left office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) — a longtime Cuomo enemy — tweeted a photo of the New York City skyline accompanied by five simple words: “Greatest city in the world.”

Michael Goodwin: “The interest in watching Andrew Cuomo’s farewell speech recalls a story about the death of Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer. His funeral was mobbed, but not necessarily by admirers. As one of his detractors put it, people came to make sure the bastard really was dead.”

A longtime Democratic strategist to Vanity Fair: “He has run the same play over and over again. There’s only one thing that motivates Andrew Cuomo: power, the constant projection of power, and nothing else. It’s not about money. And even this recent stuff, it’s not about sex, actually — it’s about how he holds power over people.”

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR — Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, who said last year that he was considering a bid for governor, was elected as chair of the Wisconsin GOP over the weekend. That presumably takes him out of the running for the race to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, though some party leaders in other states have held elective office in recent years, such as Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado.

CALIFORNIA 21ST CD — Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas, who last week was reported to be preparing a campaign for California’s 21st Congressional District, now says only that he will decide in the “next couple of weeks.” In addition, Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez says through a spokesperson that she’s only considering a bid for Salas’ seat in the legislature, likely contingent on his decision; KGET had reported that Perez, a fellow Democrat, was already in.

PENNSYLVANIA 17TH CD –– Democrat Chris Deluzio, a Navy veteran who served in Iraq, announced a campaign for Pennsylvania’s open 17th District on Monday, making him the first notable candidate from either party to enter the race. Deluzio is a policy director at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security whom the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Julian Routh describes as “one of Western Pennsylvania’s foremost experts on election reform.”

Washington Post: “Bill Kristol is just like all the other disaffected Virginia Republicans whom gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin needs to win over, only famous.”

“On Tuesday, he will formally endorse Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor seeking a comeback.”

Said Kristol: “He’s a moderate Democrat, and he’s not going to shut down Virginia’s business success, economic success and so forth. He’s the kind of Democrat I’m comfortable supporting.”

McCrae Dowless, the GOP operative behind the voting scandal in North Carolina’s 9th District in 2018, will be sentenced Wednesday and faces up to 15 years in prison, WCNC reports.

A sham candidate for the Florida Legislature pleaded guilty Tuesday to being part of a vote siphoning scheme in last year’s election and will testify against a former state senator Frank Artiles (R) who prosecutors say ran it, the Associated Press reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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